Pattern-Based Methods

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This pages collects ideas about how one can use gameplay design patterns for different purposes.

Using Patterns for Analysis

Since gameplay design patterns describe design choices they can be used to identify aspects regarding gameplay in design documents or actual games.

Using Patterns for Designing

Design can mean several things, here we use the word in the sense of making a game. This includes coming up with ideas for what the game should be about, describing the intended design, creating prototypes and mock-ups, and performing user tests.


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This phase has much in common with doing analysis of already existing games and the analysis methods from the section above can be applied here.

Using Patterns for Becoming Aware of Ones own Knowledge

Designers and experiences gamers typically have a lot of knowledge about gameplay. This knowledge may however not be easily expressible in words and this may make gamers misjudge how much they actually know about games. We have during several workshop with game students had good experiences of letting students identify their own suggestions for gameplay design patterns after presenting the basic idea but not the collection. Armed with the design pattern concept the students have easily put words on design choices made in existing games and have then been able to recombine them into new games. Besides showing them practically how patterns can be used for design and analysis this makes them aware of their own knowledge of gameplay and empowers them in the sense that they realize that they can themselves develop descriptions of gameplay concepts when they need them.

The Question of Orthodoxy

It is important to distinguish between the idea of using gameplay design patterns and using the specific collection of design patterns described on this wiki. The intention with this collection is to explore gameplay from an broad and inclusive perspective that looks at most types of games. This may mean that the collection is not optimized for other types of use, e.g.when designing a FPS on a PC. In these cases it may be better to either work with a subset of the collection or simple create a new collection with more or less inspiration of our collection.